Going Back to Basics Relieves Christmas Stress

By Esmeralda Mercado

Relief from Christmas StressChristmas stress. There’s something wrong about these two words being connected. Could it be that in our effort to give the best gifts, we’ve somehow lost the time and sanity of mind to celebrate in peace and good will?

Meaning of “Christmas”
According to Wikipedia, “Christmas” means “Christ’s mass”, commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ. In the first Christmas, three wise men brought gifts to honor the King born in the manger. Centuries later, mankind celebrates it by giving gifts to their loved ones. The spirit of Christmas was and always has been one of peace and good will. So why the stress?

Invitation for Growth Opportunities
Stress happens year-round. It’s part of normal life. Stress comes when there are life changes, money issues, deadlines, or personality conflicts. These are everyday occurrences. So, who knows if throughout the year we’ve been practicing how to deal with stress so that by Christmastime, we can be the best version of us? It’s an invitation to grow in time management, people skills, and learning to say ‘no’ in order to develop healthy boundaries. Christmas is a celebration of life, and the journey of learning to cope with life’s stresses.

Ideas on How to Minimize Stress at Christmas
One of the best things we can do for ourselves to avoid stress at Christmastime is plan ahead. If it’s too late to plan for this Christmas season, don’t sweat it! Enjoy and celebrate what you do have. For next year, consider doing your holiday shopping earlier in the year. Then, you don’t have to stand in long lines or circle parking lots for a spot. This will require a little more organization and budgeting on your part, but think of it as your investment in having more time to actually enjoy the holiday.

About two months before you normally start your holiday shopping, start making a list of gift ideas. No need to buy them then, just make a list. When you’re ready to buy, be intentional. Set aside a shopping day; go by your list. You can even save time by shopping online. If you’re not sure what your special person would like, consider playing it safe and getting a gift card. VISA offers gift cards that can be used anywhere. Budget-wise, set a few dollars aside each pay-day, so you’ll have spending money. Stick to your budget. As much as possible, pay cash; don’t get into debt. That itself can create stress since you know you’re actually paying more for the item when the credit card company tacts on interest. Think of creative ways to celebrate with your loved ones.

For effective ideas on how to deal with special health or life issues, connect with your doctor, a life coach, or a financial advisor. Kaiser Permanente has useful resources on the topic of stress. If you are not a member, click Tell Me About Kaiser, for more information.

Peace and Good Will
So what is Christmas really about? Here’s an excerpt from the 1965 TV classic, A Charlie Brown Christmas. Frustrated that he can’t seem to do anything right for Christmas, Charlie Brown blasts, “Isn’t there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?” Thoughtfully, Linus responds, “And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, ‘Fear not: for behold, I bring unto you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the City of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.’ And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God, and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.’”

Peace and good will to you this Christmas!

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